Spotify introduces a new ad format for podcasts that puts clickable cards inside shows

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Spotify is today Start is introducing a new ad format aimed at podcasters, which it’s calling “call-to-action cards” — or CTA cards, for short. The feature, which is powered by Spotify’s streaming ad insertion technology, will display a visual ad in the Spotify app when the audio ad starts playing. Cards can be customized by advertisers with their own images, text, and other clickable buttons that direct listeners to “Shop Now” or to take some other action that the advertiser is hoping to encourage.

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While ads are capable of grabbing users’ attention while streaming, Spotify knows that listening to podcasts is often an activity where the app is running in the background while the user is doing something else – like going for a walk, exercising at the gym, Doing housework, driving and more. That’s why Spotify is making the new CTA cards available on both the Show and Episode pages of the podcast. This allows the target audience to interact with the ad while they are browsing through the Spotify app, the company explains. These cards will be available for seven days after the listener has heard the ad, or less if the campaign ends earlier.

image credit: Spotify

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In the future, Spotify believes the format will evolve to do more than just direct users to some sort of landing page.

Jay Richman, Spotify’s head of advertising business and platform, said, “We think of these cards as an important step toward modernizing the format — a format that will become more efficient over time as we shop in them. lol and add videos and other interactive features.” , while introducing the format during a press briefing as part of the company’s virtual participation at this week’s Consumer Electronics Show.

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Advertisers adopting the format will have access to reporting and measurement based on confirmed ad impressions made possible through streaming ad insertion.

Spotify has invested heavily in streaming ad insertion technology, which brings real-time targeting and reporting to podcasts. Previously, when podcasts were distributed via the more open RSS format, they were also hampered by the technical limitations that only come with downloadable content. The ads were embedded in the show, not inserted dynamically. And the audio players couldn’t differentiate between which part of the program contained the show’s content and which part was advertising – it was all a single file. With streaming audio entry, the content itself is paused, the ad is inserted, and then the content resumes after the ad is completed.

It all happens in real time – but that doesn’t stop the listener from skipping ads as before, if they don’t enjoy hearing the message.

In 2020, Spotify acquired podcast hosting and advertising company Megaphone to help mass streaming ad entry beyond its own shows to reach publishing partners via the Spotify Audience Network – a network that now includes Spotify’s Contains shows from independent creators using the Anchor platform. And just last month, Spotify acquired podcast tech company Whoshka to bring the technology to radio broadcasters who want to release their audio content as podcasts after it first airs on radio.

image credit: Spotify

Because the streaming ad listing already knows when the ad appears in the program, Spotify can then pop up an accompanying CTA card to display the advertiser’s creative. For listeners, the experience may be better for looking for products and services that they heard the host was promoting during the event, as they no longer have to try to remember a URL or a coupon code that the manufacturer used. had spoken.

However, using Spotify to stream podcasts beyond that feels even more like an ad-supported experience than before, as even premium (paying) subscribers will be subject to new, arguably distracting ads And they will appear on both podcast shows and. Even after listening to the pages of the episode.

Spotify tested the new CTA card with select advertisers, including Ulta Beauty, ahead of today’s launch. According to Ulta’s Head of Content, Social and Integrated Marketing, Christine White, the company reached approximately 250,000 unique Spotify listeners with one of its campaigns, and nearly half of them saw at least one CTA card after hearing the audio message, which included viewing. Those were also involved. card while browsing the app later.

image credit: Spotify

Spotify sees the CTA card as another step toward making podcast content more interactive. The company is already experimenting with this area through voice commands and features like podcast audience polls and Q&As, which engage listeners in real-time – making them more likely to return to their app while the podcast is playing. There is a possibility. Most recently, it has been expanding access to video podcasts through Spotify’s anchor platform. Podcaster creators can add a video to their podcast to show themselves recording the show, or they can use the functionality to add an occasional graphic, chart, or slide. The feature is now rolling out to more creators and listeners, said Mike Mignano, Anchor’s co-founder and Spotify’s head of talk, during the same briefing.

Spotify notes that creators won’t need to do any incremental work to enable the new CTA cards, which will be available in select Spotify Originals and Exclusive podcasts in the US starting today.

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